Low cost marketing is something many small business owners are looking at right now. If you have just decided to start researching marketing strategies, maybe you have even seen a few that you think will be the perfect fit for your business – but that same question keeps popping up “Can I afford this”. Without a marketing budget in place, there really is no simple way of knowing the answer to that question and instead you run the risk of burning through your money and not having much to show for it.
So, what is a marketing budget?
A marketing budget documents how much your business plans to spend on marketing over a specific period. When planning to budget for marketing, you must consider all costs associated with marketing your business, such as:
- Marketing tools
- PR campaigns
- Agency and consultancy fees
- Promoting and hosting events
- Website maintenance expenses
- Paid ads either online or in newspapers and magazines
- Printed marketing tools such as brochures and leaflets
- Marketing team salaries
In short, a marketing budget is the cost incurred in promoting your business.
How to market your business at a low cost
Traditionally marketing meant printing costs but today you are likely to have additional digital advertising costs on top of – so we have put together some steps to planning a low cost marketing strategy that you can use to plan the future of your marketing and ensure that your marketing doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg.
- Define your business plan – this will not work if you do not have your goals in mind. This is the time to step back and sit down with team members to discuss your next business goals. It is hard to make a marketing budget if you do not know where your business is heading, within this plan you should list the following:
- Ideal customers
- Product positioning
- Customer journey
- Your competitive edge/ USP
- Determine your current marketing spend – this should include everything you currently spend on your marketing and promoting your business. It is important to have lots of detail, so try to use subcategories such as Facebook ads, pay per clicks website maintenance, outsourcing etc. Tip for low budget marketing spend – Where possible implement fixed budgets
- Measure the effectiveness of your current spending – Examine your marketing spend against sales and revenue and consider which marketing campaigns you had during high and low sales peaks. Remember that some kinds of marketing are more accessible to measure than others. Pay per clicks, for example, are great because they show how much you spend against the value of a product and sale. In contrast, public relations marketing is hard to put a monetary value on because you are never sure what effect the influence on customers may have.
- Optimising efforts – This is where you should look at your current spending for each product and ask whether you need to change the amount to match your growth plans. One way you can ensure that you’re on the right track is to check in with your customers, see if your pricing is fair and if you are bringing value to them. Customer feedback and testimonials are crucial for your business, they happen to be one of the most effective forms of marketing and all it costs you is to do your job right.
- Low-cost marketing ideas – There are many low-cost marketing ideas that work great for your business we listed 5 below for you.
- Utilise social media
- Email marketing
- Apply for business awards
- Blog writing
For more on low-cost marketing ideas why not take a look at one of our earlier blogs ‘low budget marketing ideas for your small business’ by using the link below:
Have you made plans to budget for your marketing? Perhaps you allocate a set amount of money each quarter to your marketing. Maybe you were struggling for ideas to keep marketing costs down and this blog has given you the inspiration you need to tackle your marketing and stay within a lower budget. We would love to know what you think about low budget marketing in the comments below.